Friday, November 28, 2008


Many writers are multi-talented and can write in a variety of genres. Yet, there is a strong school of thought that advises writers to BRAND themselves, to establish a writing persona. In short, writers provide readers with 'expected' material, and in turn, readers keep coming back for more. Conclusion: Branding leads to loyal readers which leads to stronger sales.

When I was earning my MBA in Marketing and Finance at the University of Chicago, I learned that branding was a strong component of successful marketing. Later in my years at Leo Burnett Advertising, LA Gear, Mattel and in my own company, LAUNCH! New Product Marketing, branding was a goal for each product and for the company as a whole. One of my favorite books on the topic is Al Ries and Jack Trout's POSITIONING: THE BATTLE FOR YOUR MIND.

Today, editor turned agent Chip MacGregor posted about Branding for Writers. I think in this increasingly competitive book environment, MacGregor's post is a good primer for writers and illustrators alike. Enjoy!

Monday, November 24, 2008


Cheryl Klein, Senior Editor at Arthur A. Levine Books/ Scholastic, wrote a wonderful blog post on how she writes flap copy. Through detailed explanation and a step-by-step revision of the actual flap copy for Sara Lewis Holmes' (go Sara go!) newest MG, OPERATION YES, Cheryl shares her thought process and editorial skills.

Now, I know most of us won't be writing our own flap copy but many of us have written or will be writing queries, and Cheryl's advice on flap copy doubles as a post on tips for writing queries.

In her post, Cheryl writes:
All of the previous paragraph also applies to query letters, by the way, with the exception that you should know enough about the literary tastes of the specific editor/agent to whom you're appealing that you have a decent idea of what would attract him or her, and you write that accordingly.

So click on over to Cheryl's post. Not only will you receive great advice on query writing, but you'll get a preview of Holmes' forthcoming and much anticipated book, OPERATION YES. Holmes' debut MG, LETTERS FROM RAPUNZEL received rave reviews:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


This little guy is floating around in an ocean near you, RIGHT NOW!
Look what I found while googling for story-starters. Love this site for cool pics and facts. This cutie pie is a Piglet Squid.The following info is from a short press release provided by the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium when they found this little tyke.

Piglet Squid, Helicocranchia pfefferi

This funny looking squid is about the size of a small avocado and can be found most commonly in the deepwater (greater than 100 m or 320 ft) of virtually all oceans. Its habit of filling up with water and the funny location of its siphone with a wild-looking 'tuft' of eight arms and two tentacles had prompted scientists to name it the piglet squid.

The body is almost totally clear revealing a dark mass that is the internal organs and barely visible, feather-like gills. Pigment organs dot the surface of the skin. In the picture a row of these 'chromatophores' provide a smile-like look. There are two small finst at the opposite end of the body from the head. Very little known of its biology. It has been observed from submersibles in the head down oriengation, but no one is sure why. It is a sluggish swimmer with ammonium ions in its body fluid that help keep it bouyant. A large light producing organ (photophore) is located beneath each of its large eyes.

I live about 20 minutes from the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium. I have got to pack up the kids and go see this little guy.


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